Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
City Council voted unanimously Thursday to accept private funds for rainbow-colored crosswalks at an intersection in the city's LGBTQIA district and set a completion date in late June for the project.
The four crosswalks at North Main Avenue and East Evergreen Street just north of downtown would be painted beginning June 23, days before this year's Pride Parade on June 30 that travels south down Main Street, City of San Antonio Transportation & Capital Improvements (TCI) staff said.
"The installation of this symbol in the heart of the LGBTQ community shows we are a city with a warm embrace of all its residents," said Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1).
Treviño requested in June 2017 that the City consider installing the crosswalks, and the City Council's governance committee approved a pilot program for the intersection in August 2017. TCI reported in May that the intersection's current crosswalks had exceeded their "functional service life" and needed to be replaced.
The crosswalks will cost about $32,500 to paint. The City of San Antonio will contribute $12,668 towards the project, contributing only the cost of standard white-lined crosswalks. The private funds presented by Pride San Antonio will pay for the difference.
City funds will not be used to maintain the rainbow colors, which will have a life expectancy of around three to five years, according to Arthur Reinhardt, TCI's assistant director.
The installation of the crosswalks also will begin a six-month TCI pilot program during which staff will collect data on pedestrian and vehicular reaction to the crosswalks. The data collected will be used to assess the safety of the crosswalks and develop a process for considering future creative crosswalk applications that will be considered by the City Council's Transportation Committee, Reinhardt said.
Reinhardt added that the painting would be completed over two nights to limit the impact on traffic.
Before voting to accept Pride San Antonio's donations, Council members denied a motion made by Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6) that would have allowed for other groups to apply for their own creative crosswalks during the pilot period. He expressed concern that residents may not have equal access to pursue their own creative sidewalks.
Several representatives in the LGBTQIA community spoke in favor of the crosswalks, calling them a positive symbolic step towards greater equality and representation.
"We're beginning to get equal rights here in this city," said Chris Forbrich, chairman of the San Antonio Stonewall Democrats. "This small, token gesture is a sign that the people that live and work in this important center city are important to our city and that you're going to invest in our commitment to make that our own neighborhood."